After mixed results in his initial run at light heavyweight, Travis “Diesel” Wiuff has returned to the weight class and has made real headway by making it to Bellator’s 205-pound tournament semifinals on Friday night.
For Wiuff, the move down from heavyweight was more necessity than anything else.
“Monte Cox and I were having trouble finding fights,” said Wiuff. “It was just a crazy year where fights were falling through, opponents were falling through and shows were backing out at the last moment. Then last September Monte called me and told me that Bellator was looking for someone to fight their light heavyweight champion (Christian M’Pumbu) in a super fight.
“At the time I was 270 pounds and had no plans on going back down to 205. I was having decent success and had beaten a couple of tough guys at heavyweight and I had planned on staying there. But an opportunity came up that I couldn’t pass on, so I dropped 60 pounds in five weeks and beat their champion and the rest is history.”
While some fighters may have pushed for a title shot after defeating the reigning champion in a non-title fight, Wiuff understood what he was getting into and welcomes the opportunity to prove himself.
“I knew the only way you could fight for the championship was to go through the tournament,” said Wiuff. “Bellator’s all about the tournament, and I don’t have any problems with it. I have to earn my title shot just like their current champions did and their future champions will have to do it. I’ve got no problems doing it.”
At Friday’s semifinals in Tampa, Fla., Wiuff will face off against Tim Carpenter. It’s a match that Wiuff told MMAWeekly.com he has the advantage in as long as he plays his game.
“I try not to worry about what my opponent does; those are things I can’t control, so I just worry about myself,” said Wiuff. “He has a black belt in jiu-jitsu, but that doesn’t concern me; the only belt that does is the Bellator light heavyweight belt.
“Come fight night when I’m fighting a light heavyweight that’s maybe 220 and I’m used to training with guys who are 270, it’s a huge difference and advantage for me to be bigger and stronger. I can basically do what I want with them in the cage.”
While Wiuff isn’t looking so far ahead that he’s discounting Carpenter, he makes no bones about his plans for his time in Bellator.
“I try not to look too far forward or think about who I’ll fight next, I’m just trying to take care of this opponent,” said Wiuff. “Tim Carpenter is a well-respected fighter and wouldn’t be in this tournament if he wasn’t. I’m just looking forward to fighting Tim Friday night.
“I’m excited to get out there and compete. I’m not in Bellator to shake hands, kiss babies and be friends with these guys. I’m here to win the light heavyweight championship and it’s only a matter of time before I get my hands around it.”